After speaking out on behalf of Lucy the elephant, television game show icon Bob Barker is puzzled by the apparent inaction of the Valley Zoo and the City of Edmonton, even after an Edmonton visit by Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) founder Ed Stewart and a visit to the PAWS sanctuary by Valley Zoo Operations Supervisor Dean Trichel.
In March, Ed Stewart and his chief veterinarian (an exotic animal veterinarian with 36 years of elephant experience) visited Lucy to see first hand if there were any visible signs that moving Lucy might be problematic. Both agreed that her current physical ailments would not put her at any additional risk during transport. The Valley Zoo has repeatedly claimed a high probability of death if Lucy were to be moved.
The experts from PAWS have developed a process to acclimatize elephants to the travel accommodations before the trip so that the animals are not needlessly stressed during the move. Their procedure was used in the successful move of Maggie, a critically ill African elephant, from the Alaska Zoo to their California sanctuary.
Both Stewart and his veterinarian agreed that the occasional walks Lucy is taken on around the zoo make her a prime candidate for the “crate” training required for a long-distance move. They felt it could be done safely and would benefit Lucy.
“Seeing how well Maggie has done since arriving at PAWS strongly suggests that Lucy will do just as well given the opportunity,” said Bob Barker. “Ed Stewart and his staff are experts in moving elephants. If they feel Lucy can be safely moved, I find it baffling that the Valley Zoo is still dragging its feet. ”
Earlier this year PAWS officials invited the Valley Zoo to send a representative to an elephant conference at their sanctuary. Valley Zoo Operations supervisor, Dean Treichel attended the conference at the end of April where he had the opportunity to hear about Maggie’s move from Alaska and talk with other zoo operators who have sent elephants to the facility. In addition, Mr. Treichel had a chance to see the vast enclosures first hand as well as meet the elephant residents living there.
“I was delighted to hear that Mr. Treichel had visited PAWS and was able to talk to other zoo people about their experiences in moving elephants to the sanctuary. I hoped it was a sign they were considering moving Lucy too,” said Barker. “Since that time I have made numerous attempts to talk with Councillor Linda Sloan but have never heard back from her or anyone else. I sincerely hope that Council isn’t going to turn their back on Lucy and that they’ll carefully examine the erroneous claims of the zoo. Lucy must be moved so she doesn’t have to endure another cold winter alone in Edmonton - that would be pure torture.”
To view Bob Barker’s letter to the City of Edmonton and to find out more about the Free Lucy campaign, visit: www.zoocheck.com
For interviews with Bob Barker contact:
Henri Bollanger, Publicist: 818-784-0534
For more information about Lucy:
Woodyer, Zoocheck Canada: 1-888-801-3222 (office, toll-free), 416-451-5976 (cell)
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